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The VCF Appeals Process

January 13, 2014 | Michael Barasch

To improve the claims process, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has increased its staff to 75, from 31 a year earlier. The biggest increases are in the number of document intake workers (now 25, up from nine a year earlier) and claim review team members (now 23, up from nine a year earlier), according to the VCF special master’s most recent report.

Despite these additional resources, the VCF may mistakenly deny or underpay some legitimate claims. If you believe this has happened to you, you and your attorney can appeal directly to the special master. An appeal can be completed strictly on paper, but you have the right to an in-person hearing before the special master or a hearing officer designated by her.

Hearings are nonadversarial. Only you, your attorney and the hearing officer participate, and there is no opposing attorney arguing against you. Hearings provide claimants the opportunity to present additional documentary evidence and their own testimony as well as supporting testimony from lay and expert witnesses. If you receive a denial from the VCF or if you believe you should receive a higher payment, a Zadroga Act attorney can help you appeal.

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